Game Recap/Notes: Game #7. Pistons 95 - Warriors 109. 5-2
Welp. That actually went about as could be realistically expected. But overall there are a lot of positives to take from this game.
Reggie Jackson: His stat line was not that good, 20 points on 19 shots, 5 assists to 6 turnovers. But he started off really poorly. He started to get his mojo a little bit in the second half, but then he hurt his thigh (or something else on his leg) and played a few more possessions while visibly hobbled, and even though he did make a couple good plays while hobbled. It became pretty clear pretty quick that he was not in any condition to play, so he came out. And any real chance the Pistons had at coming back in the game left with him. He ended up guarding Klay Thompson for most of the game, and KCP got the Curry assignment (more on that later) and he actually did better than I would have thought. Thompson had a good game but a lot of that was not on Reggie. Although he did have a couple plays where he visibly fell asleep and allowed an easy shot. Now we just all have to pray that he is not hurt bad. They have a few days before their next game, but if he is out for any extended period of time it will be a huge blow. He is kind of funny to watch play though, because even though he sometimes makes bad plays (he had several tonight) it is always pretty obvious that it is him or no one so he has to just try his best. I do wish we could have seen what the game would have ended up being if Jackson had played the 4th quarter healthy, because he looked like he was starting to get a rhythm going.
KCP: Holy crap. He can defend. He got the Curry assignment, and he was in his hip pocket all night. Curry never got anything going, and while obviously Curry still had a pretty nice game, he was not a big factor. All because KCP freaking ate him. And if it were not for a couple of questionable calls (more on that later) it would have been a damn near dominant defensive performance from KCP. Oh yeah he also scored a few points on pretty good efficiency. He is settling into a spot as a killer role player on this team. And that is great to see. But it cannot be overstated, he has reached his potential on D. He can guard any guard in basketball. That is great to see.
Greater Morris: He had a great game. He scored 15 points on 12 shots, against some really good defenders. And he worked his butt off on D and the boards. Like he just has that edge to him. Also, and this is big, he played a TON. 43 minutes to be precise. SVG had him anchor the bench mob (which he did really well on) and then decided that there aint no rest for the wicked so he just left Morris in. I know that I was really high on him before the season, but I freaking love this guy. He is the teams 3rd best player (although KCP is making a case with his defense) and that is huge. Remember they traded a 2nd rounder for this guy. And while obviously he did not have a huge game, he did exactly what was asked of him. He does have a tendency to make mental mistakes on D, but he also has a tendency to make great hustle plays on D. Which has surprised me this year. His reputation was that of a uncaring slacker who was a horrible defender. But he is a good defender most of the time. Also just a side note, he freaking gets into guys heads. I have never seen someone get fouled so many times fighting for position in the midrange as Morris does. He gets physical and opponents overcompensate.
Ersan Ilyasova: I am starting to think there is definitely something at least a little hurt with him. He played just 17 minutes tonight. Although it also might be that he is often a noticeable weakness on D. Particularly in a game like this where his lack of quickness is attacked relentlessly by good passing. But while he played he did do his thing. He hit a couple of shots, and ran around a whole bunch. But he has really struggled on D so far this year. Hopefully that picks up some. But I have to think he has some sort of injury. You don't just start a guy and play him only 17 minutes without something going on.
Andre Drummond: He had a bit of an off game. Which is crazy to think about because he still scored 14 points and had 15 boards. It was pretty clear from the start that the Warriors told Ezili to worry about nothing but boxing out Drummond. And Ezili is big enough to compete with Drummond. But even with that he still forced his will a few times. And he scored several times in the post. He is improving so much. He better than his season averages from last year and I am saying he had a bit of an off game. Once again though his conditioning is noticeably better. He started to really create issues at the end of the game, which was really too bad that Jackson got hurt. Those two are meant to play together and their games mesh so well. But whatever, if 14 and 15 is an off night then I will allow that.
Stanley Johnson: Easily his best game as a Piston. He did not hesitate, he got to the hoop for easy buckets, and also hit a couple easy 3s. Obviously it will not always yield these results, but i want to see him play this way every night. When he makes a move to the hoop, don't freaking stop no matter what. Even if it means ending up by throwing up a weird shot. The worst thing he does to himself is when he decides he can't get a bucket from wherever he is and looks to pass back outside. Just don't do that. But it was a good game from him. Also, he can defend wow. Obviously he does dumb rookie things because, go figure, he is a rookie. But when he is not doing dumb rookie things he can defend at such a high level. It was a really impressive two way performance. (although SVG said he didn't play as good defense today after the game, which I did not really see but hey SVG is the coach lol)
Steve Blake: holy crap. SVG i trust you, but why on earth does Steve Blake play. He even hit a couple shots today and he was still awful. He struggled just to bring the ball up the court on several possessions. And he still cannot guard anyone. This is totally beyond me why Blake is playing. Let Dinwiddie get some run. Blake costs the Pistons points every time he steps onto the floor. I think he has pretty clearly just lost it. I don't know man. I just don't get this. Although I suppose since he hit a couple shots it was good to see that.
Anthony Tolliver: Only played 14 minutes and did very little in that time. He was active but he only took one shot. And he just does not do a ton positive for the team other than shoot. It was admittedly a little odd that he got so few minutes, but I suppose when Johnson is playing well then its ok. It is telling though that SVG chose to ride Morris all game and play both Ersan and Tolly very short minutes. SVG clearly trusts Morris a lot. But this was also not a good matchup for Tolly.
Aaron Baynes: Another solid performance. He made a couple nice plays out of the post, contested shots in the paint. i'm starting to warm up to him again. And to be clear, no one is counting on him to be some hub of low post offense, but to be able to dump it into him 3 or 4 times a night and get good looks is big, particularly on a bench severely lacking in creation. And once again he worked his butt off on D.
Reggie Bullock: played literally a minute. He came on at the very end of the first half, committed a charge. Nothing to see here.
General: I in no way am saying that the Pistons lost because of the refs. Especially in the NBA, there are so many possessions that refs do not decide the outcome. But the Pistons absolutely got shafted tonight. And it was funny because it got to the point where SVG just went off on the refs and got T'd up. And good for him, because the refs were ignoring all sorts of stuff all night. But whatever, that happens sometimes. I liked Johnson just going instead of thinking tonight. And over all the Pistons stayed pretty competitive on the second night of a back to back. So even though they were pretty soundly beaten, it was never a blow out. And there were some real positives. Now get Reggie healthy and keep up the good play. Next up is the Kings so it should be a lot easier than the Warriors. Also, it shows just how far the NBA has fallen in terms of trash talk and intensity that Draymond Green is the banner holder for tough guys in the league right now. What a baby. I know that Blaha and Special K will only gush about him since they are all State guys, but I am actually glad the Pistons did not sign him. He is not the kind of dude I want to root for. (even if he is really good.)
What do you think? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!